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French route Stage 4: From Pamplona to Puente la Reina (23,5 km.)

French route Stage 4: From Pamplona to Puente la Reina (23,5 km.)

From Pamplona’s beautiful Magdalena Bridge over the river Arga, the route crosses two consecutive roads and goes up a pedestrianised walled path to the Portal de Francia, a historical access gate to the fortified city. From here it passes through Pamplona along Carmen, Navarrería and Mercaderes streets, then the Plaza del Ayuntamiento (City Hall Square), along San Saturnino and Mayor streets to the Plaza de Recoletos. Cross the main road and walk along Bosquecillo street, Pío XII avenue, the Vuelta del Castillo (the large park with a citadel in the centre), Fuente del Hierro street and the campus of the Universidad de Navarra, where it goes down to the Azella bridge over the river Sadar. After crossing this bridge the route also traverses the bridge over the river Elorz and the bridge of the Ronda Oeste (ring motorway) on a paved pathway that runs parallel to the road to Cizur Menor.

The route passes through Cizur Menor via the main road and once you get to the frontón (Basque pelota court) it turns onto a street until you reach the edge of the village. Walk along a dirt track among fields of grain until you reach the Zizur residential complex; walk round the enclosure with houses and follow a road again. The route soon turns off once more along a dirt track that crosses the same main road further on. From here on, a wide and well-surfaced track goes up among hills of crops and you will be able to see Galar on the left. The wide open spaces and fertile cereal cropland in the Pamplona basin dominate the landscape. At the end, on the mountain range, the rotating turbines of the El Perdón Wind Park mark out our route.

Pass mount Morea along a well-kept track that gradually heads downwards between the open fields. As you approach a hill, the path comes to an end and you continue on a dirt track. Lines of poplars mark out the riverbanks, and fences break the monotony of the landscape. A shady pathway among plants and trees and the flow of a nearby stream are reminders of previous mountain stages. After crossing a tiny bridge you meet a trail, close to the Guenduláin farmhouse, whose impressive ruins have seen better days. From here there is a constant ascent to Zariquiegui, a village on the northern side of the Perdón mountain range. It is easily distinguished thanks to the stylish residential complex that dominates it.

Leave Zariquiegui along a track that, as it flattens out, reaches a ravine. Here the route leaves the track behind and heads along an old pathway that goes halfway up the hillside. The route becomes a narrow trail that skirts the crop fields and you reach pasture ground marked by a hut in ruins. Down below, the southern entrance of the Perdón Tunnel swallows up the motorway, while the giant blades of the wind farm’s turbines turn above your heads. A conglomerate pathway, excavated from the rock, leads up to the top of the mountain, where a beautiful ‘Monument to the Pilgrim’ stands in the open air. This place has excellent panoramic views of the Pamplona Basin.Once you cross the Perdón road, the route goes down the south side of the mountain range along a wide and very stony path. The change of mountainside provides a different climate, made up of what is clearly Mediterranean vegetation where holm and kermes oaks dominate. Once at the edge of the farmland, the route, which is now a farm track, wanders between the fields and mountain outcrops of this beautiful landscape. Near Uterga the route crosses a little bridge over the Erreniega stream and carries on into the village along a wide track. The route crosses Uterga along the main road and, once out of the village, takes the track to Adiós. It continues along this track until it reaches a riverbank, which it then leaves in order to carry on along a dirt track that skirts a field and goes upwards towards the peak of Oianburua.

A trail leads us, among fields of grain, almond trees and the first vineyards on the route, along a flat terrace that heads towards the centre of Muruzábal, already in view. Pass Muruzábal along the main road, which you then leave behind after the village to go down a path that, after passing through an underground passageway under the road, heads up to Obanos along a farm track. The route crosses Obanos, wandering through the well-kept streets of the centre of the village. Once you leave behind the last lot of houses, the route heads down a path and crosses the Campanas-Puente la Reina road. From here a track skirts the orchards of the river Robo until it reaches some hotels; walk along a pavement and you reach the centre of Puente la Reina. At the Convento de los Reparadores you are joined by the ‘Aragonese branch’ of the route from Jaca.

etapa 4

What is there to do and see at the end of the stage?

  • Visit and wine tasting at Bodegas de Sarría, a few miles from Puente la Reina. Too far to walk after a day’s exertions. Taxi Iván: 618133562; Taxi Mari Carmen 680872200.
  • Visit the Church of Santa María de Eunate, a Knights Templar building? (5 km) Taxi Iván: 618133562; Taxi Castellanos: 610698817 Return fare including driver waiting time of 15 minutes: 12€
  • Guided visit to Puente la Reina: you need to reserve in advance. Possibility of a special pilgrims’ visit.
  • Wine tasting for pilgrims at the Ganbara wine shop in Puente la Reina: 3 wines + 1 tapa, 5€. From 19/03 to October 2010, every day except weekends, at 18.00. Duration: 1 hour. Appointment necessary: 679295808/626053781
  • Blessing of pilgrims: in July and August, at 19.00 in the Church of the Crucifix.

You may also be interested in...

  • For more information: Tourism Office of Puente la Reina
  • To stamp your credential: in pilgrims’ hostels / Tourism Office / Town Hall

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